Many years ago, back when I was a youth minister, I was playing basketball with a group of kids I knew. They were not church kids. They were street kids and fights on the court were a common occurrence. During one play, a kid named Martin messed up and we lost the ball in a very close game. Martin could be cocky sometimes and I fully expected an excuse for his crappy play. Instead he lifted his hand in the air and proclaimed, “My Bad!” The expression and the humbleness Martin was showing stuck in my mind and in that moment there are lessons for the Republican Party.
Many thought that Romney almost won the presidency with his performance in the first debate, but his real chance to win it was in the townhall debate. A lady said she wasn’t happy with the current progress that Obama was making, but that she still blamed Bush for a lot of our problems. She wanted to know how Romney would be different than Bush. Romney avoided the tougher answer and gave some quips about energy policy, etc… Obama got a zinger in about Planned Parenthood and it was a lost opportunity.
Romney missed this opportunity, but I won’t. So, conservatives, look into the mirror and open your ears because here comes the answer Romney should have given.
On behalf of the entire Republican Party I want to apologize to America because the Republicans betrayed you and betrayed everything they stand for. We got elected to be conservatives and we governed like Democrats. We promised fiscal sanity and we gave you large deficits. We promised to stop nation building and then we oversaw the largest nation building projects since World War II. I am a conservative and I blame Bush too!
I can hear the screaming now by blind Republicans. “It wasn’t Bush’s fault…blah blah blah”. Come on. Step back just one moment and tell me that if Al Gore had won in 2000 and did everything Bush did, you wouldn’t have been up in arms over the deficit and mishandling of the wars. Don’t tell me that you wouldn’t be screaming today about the economic collapse in 2009, if Gore had been president at the time. If we want to get America back on our side, we must stop the intellectual hypocrisy and admit when our side screwed up. Most people blame Bush for the economic collapse and the Republicans will always be tied to it until they are willing to admit it was his fault.
Now you and I know that there is plenty of fault to go around, but deep down you also know that we would not be in this mess if the Republicans in Congress and Bush had governed like conservatives and fought the wars like conservatives.
It is not conservative to lower taxes, but increase spending. That’s like having a glass half full with pure water and the other half with poison. It is not conservative to raise the debt by FIVE Trillion dollars. I got sick listening to conservative say, “Bush took eight years to increase the deficit by five trillion. Obama has done it in four years” Really? Really”? That’s the best you got? Again that’s like saying my guy only murdered two people. Yours murdered five! If large deficits are wrong when Democrats do it, it is wrong when Republicans do it!
No wonder America held its nose and voted for a guy they really didn’t want. Our message and alternative was worse. Remember the lady from the debate. She wanted to change. She wanted a reason to vote Obama out. All she wanted to know was that Romney wasn’t going to be another Bush and Romney didn’t even know the difference between how Bush governed and how a conservative would have governed. What is scarier is that many Republican voters still don’t know the difference themselves.
Think about what the Republicans, including Bush, did to our cause from 2000-2006. We put them into power to enact a fiscally responsible, smaller government and they gave us the opposite and we applauded just because they waived some tax cuts in front of us as if that is the whole conservative plank.
We elected them to be Republicans and they governed like Democrats and now people are turned off to conservatism because they think conservatism is what was in place between 2000-2006. No it wasn’t. What was in place was a Republican version of progressivism (Democrat Light). If we don’t admit to that and show what real conservatism looks like, those years will forever taint the Republican Party and entrap this country into a death spiral into the Democratic version of progressivism.
You want America to embrace conservatism? Then it is time for all Republicans and all conservatives to put up our hands and proclaim, “Our Bad!”